Recall has single-handedly removed tactical movement from Hero Battles because combatants can use it to both easily flee and to quickly gang up on opponents. By disabling skills after using Recall to Shadow Step, we hope to maintain this skill's value for retreating and for general maneuverability while diminishing its offensive usage.
With Mystic Healing, a Dervish/Necromancer can provide party-wide healing while powering physical attackers with "Orders" Enchantments. Since we are reducing the power of Light of Deliverance (a more general purpose party-wide healing skill), we felt Mystic Healing needed to be brought down a notch to prevent this character (and the extreme focus on physical attackers that it encourages) from becoming the only way to play.
Overall, we're looking at ways to improve skills that apply Cracked Armor. Shell Shock should be one of the premier ways to do this, but it was strictly inferior to even averagely powered Air Magic spells like Enervating Charge. We adjusted this skill's numbers to see if it can become a viable way to create more synergy between Elementalists and physical attackers.
Conjure Nightmare had two issues. First, it could be used to fuel Auspicious Incantation to power the Energy costs of Illusion skills (especially Clumsiness, which is limited much more by Energy cost than recharge time) endlessly. Secondly, compared to Conjure Phantasm, Conjure Nightmare granted only 33% more Health degeneration but at 150% of the cost (without Auspicious Incantation). This change should restore balance to Energy-limited skills such as Clumsiness while making Conjure Nightmare's Energy cost more closely match its effect.
Because Cracked Armor is a less powerful condition than Deep Wound, Shrinking Armor (which applies Cracked Armor) was clearly underpowered compared to Phantom Pain (which applies Deep Wound). The increased Health degeneration for Shrinking Armor should help balance these skills out.
Monks have received what is quite possibly the most experimental set of changes we've ever made to the profession. The efficiency of Light of Deliverance completely removed the need for most other healing skills on a team, causing it to invalidate a large number of those skills. This aggressive change is meant to explore Light of Deliverance's overall effect on the game, as well as the impact of players using alternate methods of party healing. To accommodate this goal, we've also slightly increased the healing amount of Heal Party. Because simply reducing the power of Light of Deliverance would have effectively reduced the power of Monk healing overall, we improved several other Monk elites that were not up to par; Blessed Light, Glimmer of Light, and Word of Healing all received significant updates to encourage their use.
Another goal is to support non-primary-Monk healers and encourage split tactics. Thus, we greatly increased Restful Breeze and Healing Breeze to be much more efficient, as these are attractive to characters who do not have access to Divine Favor. In addition, Vigorous Spirit received a casting time decrease for a small, overall effectiveness boost.
Oppressive Gaze has become the central skill in a powerful Necromancer spike build, so we wanted to add another conditional element to limit its spike potential. Weaken Armor has been reworked to take advantage of the Cracked Armor mechanic; thus it no longer needs to be a Hex spell.
Most of the Ranger changes revolve around decreasing the effectiveness of the common "Spiritway" build in Heroes' Ascent. This build typically slows games to a standstill by cluttering the screen with an overwhelming number of minions, Spirits, and pets. Energizing Winds is the lynch pin to the effectiveness of the skill Rampage as One for the Ranger/Warriors on the team, allowing this otherwise defensive team build to deal a lot of damage. Fertile Season, on the other hand, can be used to stall the game when a team is losing. As a result, both of these Spirits have taken an overall hit to their effectiveness. Finally, Magebane Shot has been improved to provide Rangers with a new option for interruption while not encouraging Ranger spikes.
Ancestors' Rage is featured in a new quick spike build involving the Elementalist skill Ride the Lightning. When used with a caster item that increases Enchantment duration on the target, Ancestor's Rage could be used by teleporting Elementalists for instant kills on targets. Changing this from an Enchantment spell to a skill prevents this particular interaction without otherwise decreasing the skill's effectiveness.
Splinter Weapon has turned the Victory or Death period in Guild vs. Guild matches into an NPC bloodbath. This in turn has lessened importance of early tactical maneuvers to kill NPCs earlier in the match. The new target limit should keep its power in check for this situation.
In the past, Weapon of Warding has supported interesting character builds and split-tactics in Guild vs. Guild play. We're encouraging that interaction again with a duration boost. The duration increase on Sundering Weapon was made to further support the application of Cracked Armor.
Note: All skill ranges are for Attribute 0...12...15.
Oppressive Gaze: conditional effect now only triggers on foes who are below 50% Health.
Weaken Armor: decreased Energy cost to 5; decreased casting time to 2 seconds; decreased recharge time to 5 seconds; changed the skill type to a Spell; functionality changed to: "Target foe has Cracked Armor for 5...17...20 seconds".